9000 Ultimate Motorcycle Boots
Black, Sizes: Regular 4–111⁄2, 12–14; Wide 7–111⁄2, 12–14, $138 suggested retail price
CoolMax Duty Black Socks
Men’s fits sizes 10–13, Women’s fits sizes 6–9, $6.99 suggested retail price
A good amount of my time in the saddle is spent riding in the rain, so I’d like to be as warm and dry as possible. I’ve got a great set of rain gear but finding waterproof boots that stand up to the damp and cold of the Northeast has proven to be quite a challenge.
Ridge Outdoors has built a solid reputation manufacturing tactical boots for law enforcement, firemen and other first responders for over a dozen years. When I learned that the company now offers motorcycle boots to fit both men and women, I decided to give them a try.
The ultimate boot
Out of the 12 models currently available, I selected the 9000 Ultimate because of its waterproofing properties, like the triple-stitched sealed seams. The full-grain leather and ripstop nylon construction made the boots feel very light—quite important to me because the nature of my job often involves as many hours of walking (and toting heavy camera equipment) as it does riding. The gel shock-absorbing heel and padded, anatomically correct removable insole also added to the instant comfort I experienced—no break-in required! The inside “walls” of the boots are padded, as well, so there’s no leather rubbing against the fronts or backs of my legs. The boots are 8” tall—plenty high enough to protect my ankles and lower shins while on the bike. The compound rubber soles are oil- and slip-resistant; also important whether on a wet road or my sometimes-slick garage floor.
Another nice feature is the dual fastening system. The boot has a typical lace-up front with non-metallic hooks, and also sports a YKK side zipper with a Velcro zipper keeper and an ankle-high gusset that aids with waterproofing capabilities. Once I tightened the laces to the desired tension, I didn’t have to fuss with them anymore. All I ever use now is the zipper for easy-on, easy-off.
The boot also features a Dri-Lex membrane, giving it sweat control and anti-microbial properties. And it works! My feet stayed cool and dry even on hot summer days. The waterproofing lived up to its hype, also. I road-tested the boots at the rainiest rally in the Northeast, Laconia Motorcycle Week, and the insides (and my socks) stayed dry even in the near-constant rain.
I’ve been wearing these boots for several months, and I haven’t found a single thing to complain about. The waterproofing works, they’re comfortable, and I don’t feel like I’m wearing boat anchors after a day tromping around a bike show or rally. In fact, the boots are so light I worried that they wouldn’t be warm enough in Northern climates, but I’ve worn them in 50-degree weather and my feet haven’t gotten cold at all. I’ve also worn them in 90-degree temperatures, and they breathe quite nicely.
I’ve paid a lot more for boots that deliver a lot less. In fact, you can order two pairs of the 9000 Ultimates for what some of the other brands charge for just one pair.
CoolMax and Cotton
Ridge Outdoors also sells its own brand of socks, and the CoolMax Duty Socks complement the company’s motorcycle boots nicely. They’re crew length, meaning that they rise to just above the tops of my boots. And the non-binding elastic makes them stay there! The men’s socks fit shoe sizes 10–13 and are offered in black, brown and tan. The women’s socks fit shoe sizes 6–9 and come in black only. All socks have a marled heel (gray for the black socks) and are padded on the bottom. They’re 18 percent CoolMax, 71 percent cotton, eight percent nylon and three percent Lycra. These fabrics combine to provide a high degree of wicking and speedy moisture evaporation. They also seem to have some kind of odor-absorbing properties, because at the end of a long riding day, I discovered that I don’t have worry about offending my riding partners when I take my boots off.
Like the boots, the price of these socks is much lower than what you’d normally find for similar hosiery. And they’re so comfortable that I’ve found myself wearing them in all sorts of other situations—walking, hiking, exercising or just hanging around the house.